Dendera & Abydos
The Temple of Seti I at Abydos and the Temple of Hathor at Dendera are seperated by 1000 years in time. Seti's temple was built in the New Kingdom, and the current temple at Abydos was built by the Ptolomies and the Romans. They offer a contrast in how much the art form changed and how much it stayed the same through Egyptian History.
The Temple of Hathor at Dendera
Dendera was the main city of the sixth Egyptian Nome (province). Dendera was also the site of an ancient cult center for Hathor. The Temple of Hathor at Dendera, on the Nile north of Luxor, is one of the latest Egyptian temples. Dedicated to the wife of the god Horus, it was built by Ptolemys and its decorations include Roman emperors alongside Egyptian gods. The complex included two birth houses, a sacred lake, two chapels dedicated to Osiris and a chapel dedicated to Isis. The complex was surrounded by high mud brick walls that were built in alternating concave and convex sections. This produced a wavy structure that is assumed to signify the primordial sea which surrounds the symbolic mound of birth and regeneration on which the temple was built. Inside, the most fascinating sight is the roof chapel dedicated to Osiris, which contains a sundial and circular zodiac. The zodiac, a replica of the original that is now in the Louvre, consists of two superimposed constellations. One is centered on the geog raphical north pole, the other on the true north pole. An axis passes through Pisces, confirming what we know from archaeological evidence: it was built in the age of Pisces, just over 2,000 years ago. Among the many other structures here are the remains of a 5th-century Christian basilica, an excellent example of early Coptic church architecture. There is also a sanatorium, where pilgrims could bathe in the sacred waters or take holy water — which had been run over magical texts to infuse it with power — home with them. Along with Abydos further north, Dendera is a popular day trip from Luxor.
The Temple of Seti I in Abydos
Abydos is a huge, significant archaeological site in northern Upper Egypt, a collection of temples, sites and ancient cemeteries located close to the town of al-Balyana in the Egyptian province situated 90 km (56 miles) north of Luxor. Often visited in conjunction with Dendera. It is still a place of pilgrimage for New Age devotees, who follow in the footsteps of Dorothy Eady (d. 1981) who believed herself to be a reincarnation of a temple priestess at Abydos.
The main monument is the Temple of Seti I, built around 1300 BC by Seti and his son Ramses II. The temple contains one of the best reliefs of the New Kingdom and the King list. The raised reliefs in the temple are some of the finest quality in all Egypt, incredibly beautiful and detailed. Although the lighting in the interior of the temple can be somewhat gloomy in places, the reliefs still stand out as exceptional. Visitors should note that the reliefs on the outer portions of the temple were completed during the reign of Ramses II, and are of a much lower quality than those further inside the complex. (Ramses moved the best craftsmen to work on his own temples after his father's death). Also worth noting is that the Kings List, or Pharaohs List is somewhat selective, omitting for example Akhenaten (the heretic king), Hatshepsut (a female pharaoh), and the reigns of the kings during the Hyskos occupation. If you are interested in ancient Egyptian history and art, this temple is more than wo rth the trip.